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Celestina Prior fell in love
with a man named Melon O’Neil,
and did thank those lucky stars above
for the way that this man made her feel,
she did not first think it could be real,
she was unmarried at twenty-five,
almost an old maid in southern eyes.
A date had been set by her father
in the spring of eighteen sixty-one,
then the rebels fired on Fort Sumter,
Merlon was sent to carry a gun,
saw his first taste of blood at Bull Run.
Celeste wrote often to her fine men,
he was sent west, to fight General Grant.
For a long while no letters came,
in Charleston Celeste worried,
imagined Merle lying in pain,
didn’t want to see her lover bleed,
hated where all the dark thoughts did lead,
until one day a new letter said
to forgive him, he had deserted!
Celeste didn’t dare shame Merlon,
and she kept the letter to herself,
the war turned out to be a long one,
and Sherman burned her family’s wealth,
her father died, the stress broke his health.
When the war ended, she was alone,
and struck out to find Merle on her own.
In Tennessee she found his captain,
and he did not have nice things to say,
Cclled Merle a coward and damned the man,
said he was last seen slinking away,
riding west on a fine, stolen bay.
So Celeste headed for the frontier,
desperate to learn just what she could hear.
Up the wide Mississippi she went,
getting bits of gossip here and there,
then her dunn stallion’s foreleg was bent,
and she had to put him down right there,
it left her on foot, and in despair.
Trudging wherever she had to go,
more than one she did sleep on the road.
It was in St. Louis that she learned
Merle had crossed the plains to trap the pelts,
to ride out after him she did yearn,
she found a man with a horse to sell,
it lasted just two days, and then fell.
She found a small town, was nearly broke,
her spirit wavered, ran low on hope.
She had nobody to return to,
and was desperate to make some money,
she only had one thing men wanted
so she sold access to her body,
to cold, rough-hewn men feeling naughty,
she cried between every single John,
but made the coin to keep going on.
It was not the same girl who rode out
in the summer to cross the wide plains,
she was beginning to have grave doubts
that she would see her Merlon again,
great uncertainty clouded her brain,
then she heard the whoop of two young braces,
she spurred her horse, and they both gave chase!
CONCLUDES IN PART II.
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